Nick Mohammed

Nick Mohammed

Half Indo-Caribbean and half Greek-Cyprio, Mick Mohammed became involved in the Footlights while at Cambridge University, appearing in their touring show Beyond A Joke (2004) and Under The Blue, Blue Moon (2005).

He made his solo Edinburgh debut with the Forer Factor in 2006, and has returned the subsequent four years.

On TV, his biggest role so far was as yes-man Steve in the 2009 revival of Perrin, but his credits also include various roles in Horne & Corden, hit kids' show Sorry I've Got No Head and the ITV2 sitcom No Heroics.

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Mr Swallow – Houdini

Review by Steve Bennett

The most spectacular feat in Mr Swallow’s Houdini isn’t the water tank escape at the end, impressive as that is for a Fringe show, but the fact that Nick Mohammed has come up with an almost entirely new way to present the centuries-old art of magic.

We’re familiar with the slick, Vegas-like showmen, the moody street magicians or comic versions mocking the cheesiness or deliberately fumbling the conjuring. But here, Mr Swallow is a prestidigitator amazed at his own abilities, shrieking in delight and bewilderment at the old cups-and-balls trick that he’s managed to pull off, but not sure quite how or why. It’s a brilliantly funny scene in a show that contains several priceless moments.

Houdini is the second musical from Mohammed’s strange creation – a bizarre, spoilt-child mix of raging ego, wittering vacuity, impatient bossiness and naive excitability – following 2014’s take on Dracula, and just as daft.

It is, of course, a parody of bad musicals with an execution that goes wrong. But the tunes would actually hold up pretty well in the ‘real’ theatre, and are presented with a brisk, if loose, choreography to spice up the energy.

Meanwhile, the planned mishaps are mostly generated from Mr Swallow’s peculiar personality, rather than things that just happen to go wrong, giving a bit more context. Tonight, there was a genuine problem with a head mic, but the mood is right to turn that into great slapstick, thanks to Mohammed’s physical comedy instincts and the quick comedy thinking of David Elms, playing one of two stooges Mr Swallow can browbeat. The other is Kieran Hodgson, subjected to various ignominies in the name of entertainment.

The musical takes a cursory look at the great escapologist’s biography, but mainly serves to build up tension for the big, watery finale – and engineer a standing ovation while we’re at it, as the main musical refrain is about how the audience rising to their feet makes every sacrifice worthwhile for the performer.

There are probably a few nips and tucks needed – a seance scene especially, strays way off topic, and takes a long time about it; a jokey acknowledgement of the fact not enough to justify it –but mostly the writing is a potent mix of the sharp and the silly, all wrapped up in this bizzarely compelling man-child of a character.

The inescapable (apologies) conclusion is that Houdini has great laughs, a real sense of silly fun, and decent spectacle to satisfy your entertainment needs.

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Published: 12 Aug 2016

Beyond A Joke

Set amid a huge snowstorm, altering normal life in…


Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2004

Beyond A Joke

Edinburgh Fringe 2006

Nick Mohammed: The Forer Factor

Edinburgh Fringe 2007

Nick Mohammed: 4uarters

Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Nick Mohammed in Apollo 21

Edinburgh Fringe 2010

Nick Mohammed Is Mr Swallow

Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Nick Mohammed is Mr Swallow: 2012

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Mr Swallow – The Musical

Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Mr Swallow – Houdini


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